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Dubai has no shortage of high-end hotels, but TPG Contributor Richard Kerr opted for luxury over opulence during his recent trip to the UAE. Read on for his review of the Park Hyatt Dubai.
My wife, 6-month-old son and I recently packed our bags for the vacation of a lifetime, leaving our home in Japan for 10 days to travel to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the Maldives. We flew Etihad Airways Diamond First Class from Tokyo Narita to Abu Dhabi, then continued on to our first hotel: the Park Hyatt Dubai.
For the hour-long ride from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), we took Etihad’s complimentary chauffeur service past downtown Dubai and over Dubai Creek to the property, which lies just south of Dubai International Airport (DXB). The Park Hyatt’s location isn’t particularly convenient to Dubai’s major tourist spots, but cheap cabs and Uber easily bridged the distance during our three nights at the hotel.
A few weeks before our arrival, I’d contacted the front desk to request an early check-in, and though at the time they couldn’t guarantee it, our suite was waiting for us the minute we arrived.
Our Park Terrace Suite
At the 225-room Park Hyatt Dubai, nightly rates start at 1,245 AED (about $339) or 20,000 Gold Passport points, though the “Arabian Summer” special rate offers 831 AED ($226) per night for a three-night stay.
I booked a Park King room using the Cash + Points rate of 10,000 points + $125 a night, then utilized a Hyatt Diamond Suite upgrade to book a Park Suite. Upon check-in, we were upgraded to a Park Terrace Suite, which had a balcony running the length of the suite and overlooking the hotel grounds and scenic Dubai Creek.
An unpublicized yet well-known suite amenity at the Park Hyatt Dubai is an entirely complimentary mini-bar. After reading about this is in few reviews, I scoured the web trying to find it in writing, with no luck; I was then hesitant to ask about it at check-in, fearful of being shot down. On our first day at the hotel, though, my wife and I tried a couple things from the mini-bar and sure enough, the next day our room bill was still $0 — so this was proof enough for me. I went on to enjoy a beer (or three) on the terrace during my son’s many nap times, and our room bill was still $0 when we checked out.
For family travelers, this room was the perfect set-up, with a separated bedroom where our son could nap/sleep and a living room with desk where I could work and relax. We made use of the second bathroom behind the desk as not to wake up the baby.
I always leave the critique of a bathroom up to my wife. She gave the Park Terrace Suite’s set-up five stars, as the space had a large closet, ample mirrors, good lighting, a hair dryer, a rainfall shower-head, a deep bathtub equipped with candles and an iron and ironing board.
Our terrace overlooked a perfectly manicured green lawn, as well as downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa. The hotel has a dedicated seaplane dock for sightseeing tours; as a dedicated aviation geek, I enjoyed watching the seaplanes take off and land right in front of my balcony every day.
Walking around the sprawling property, it’s easy to feel like you’re walking through the grand halls of an Arabian palace. The check-in area and glass hallway to the initial public areas makes for a tremendous first impression. At night, this hallway is lit by candles and faux gas lamps, providing quite the romantic setting.
The public areas of the hotel are split in half by the main walkway above, with the pool area enclosed by the hotel on one side and beautifully maintained garden courtyards on the other side. The pool area — one of my favorites amongst all the hotels I’ve ever visited — is designed to look like an oasis in the desert, with lots of palm trees and more than enough space for all guests to relax either in the sun or the shade. Massage tents beckoned just down from the pool, and always seemed to be busy.
The pool is manned by lifeguards during open hours, and they seemed incredibly nervous every time we brought our son swimming. The majority of our fellow guests were European, and very curious about what they expressed as our “bravery” in bringing our baby on this vacation. We just shrugged and enjoyed our trip, as we didn’t think that traveling as a family to such a touristy place was an act of courage!
The property has four main restaurants: the signature French restaurant, Traiteur; the aptly named Thai Kitchen; the buffet restaurant, Cafe Arabesque; and The Terrace restaurant, where we enjoyed a long lunch overlooking the Dubai Marina and multi-million dollar yachts. Breakfast included with the suite was at Cafe Arabesque each morning, and was hands-down fantastic; you could order a la carte from a set menu as well as partake in a buffet fit for an emir.
There’s also a posh bakery on-site called Pistache, as well as an area called The Lounge, which serves as a coffee shop and offers afternoon tea.
There was an exercise room, too, but its opening times were limited and didn’t fit in with the sightseeing/baby-watch rotation the wife and I were employing. If you need access to business services, you can check out a laptop from Pistache and complete a few faxes or print a few pages.
The hotel far exceeded my expectations — which were high to begin with — and didn’t leave a single sour note to stain the experience. The staff’s sightseeing recommendations were excellent, and I was surprised to find such friendly service in the UAE; everyone we interacted with made sure that my family was well looked after.
There are many luxury properties in Dubai today, but staying in a suite at this property for $125 a day can’t be beat by any of them. If you’re considering the Park Hyatt Dubai for your next trip, I hope I’ve done you a favor and made the decision an easy one.